Alltel Arena GM Waits for Expected Logo Change

by Jim Harris  on Thursday, Jun. 5, 2008 12:53 pm  

Verizon Wireless has its name on two indoor arenas for now, but only one of them is Verizon Arena. It remains to be seen if North Little Rock's Alltel Arena will become Verizon Arena, but if so, if will share the name with Verizon Arena in Manchester, N.H.

Verizon Wireless announced Thursday that it will buy Alltel Corp. of Little Rock, for which the arena is named, in a $28 billion deal.

"I'm just waiting on someone from New York to give me a ring," Alltel Arena general manager Michael Marion said Thursday about the expected name change of his 18,000-seat facility.

Mainly, the corporate logo is splashed on outdoor amphitheaters. Verizon entered into an agreement a few years back with Live Nation, the company originally started by Clear Channel for concert business, for naming rights on a whole slew of outdoor event centers.

When Verizon obtained the MCI communications company, the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. became the Verizon Center.

The only money Verizon will be out in renaming Alltel Arena will come with the redesign of a logo. Alltel Corp. paid $7 million up front in 1999 for naming rights for 20 years. Also, Alltel Corp. bought one of the arena's four $1 million suites with a 20-year lease.

"Keep in mind, they paid all this in advance, before we opened. It's not like there is money due or anything like that," Marion said. "Most naming-rights deals are over extended periods of time. In our case, Alltel stuck their neck out before we were even open. That money went to construction.

"A lot of the nice amenities we have in the building, the money Alltel put up made a lot of that happen."

If the Verizon name is stamped on Alltel Arena, it wouldn't be the first logo design change for the arena. Three years ago, Alltel Corp. redesigned its own logo and changed all the signage in the arena. But other than workers plying the new signage in place, Marion doesn't expect anything to affect business at the arena.

"We're going to have a different name, I assume," he said. "It will be like the Alltel stores. They have to change all the signs on the front and inside of those."

Alltel Corp. is also one of the chief sponsors of Southeastern Conference football and basketball telecasts.



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